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Literature review on economic development incentives July 4, 2011

Posted by Tom in Economic Development.
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I’ve had the luxury of investigating a number of topics over the past couple of years during my Masters of Public Administration program, and many of those investigations resulted in papers.  Following is one of my first papers from one of my first classes – a literature review on economic development incentives.  It’s my first major academic paper in over 16 years, so please take pity on my work.  (Also, it appears that the page formatting is a little out of sorts as the headers are now footers.)

View this document on Scribd

As for the content, I believe it is reasonably even-handed.  Like so many tools that economic developers use, incentives clearly have their place. They are not, however, the universal cure-all to economic development challenges.

Rebooting “Convergence” June 4, 2011

Posted by Tom in Housekeeping.
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After over four years away from the blog, I think it’s time to rev up the engine once again.

What have I been up to?  There’s quite a story in the answer.  I left my employment in the world of quasi-public workforce (It was Indiana, and Governor Daniels has been privatizing a lot) to follow a family move to Columbus, Ohio.  After looking around and talking to more than a few people in my new town town, I found a place as an appointee of then-Governor Strickland to run one of his campaign platform’s workforce initiatives – one linking economic development goals and workforce development goals!  (Go figure!)  Managing a program of this size and prestige was the height of professional exhilaration and challenge, offering me countless lessons.  In rare down-times, I could only sit back and reflect on how humbling it was to be in a position to try to help so many Ohioans as the economy went into a tailspin around November 2008.


“From Cradle to Career” January 4, 2007

Posted by Tom in Education, Workforce.
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From Kevin Thompson at the US Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration.  I really like the linkages that this report promotes…

Education Week, the national trade publication, has released its report “From the Cradle to Career: Connecting American Education from Birth to Adulthood.” The authors note: “In many ways, this year’s Quality Counts is a transitional document, as we move from an exclusive focus on K-12 education to a broader focus on the connections between K-12 education and the other systems with which it intersects: early-childhood education, teacher preparation, postsecondary education and training, and workforce and economic development.” The chart at http://www.edweek.org/media/ew/qc/2007/17ewi.h26.pdf contains some useful (provocative?) State comparisons on work readiness and education.


WIRED: New York December 21, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, WIRED, Workforce.
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The Finger Lakes WIRED initiative awarded $145,476 in training grants to 14 businesses:

Monroe County: SenDEC Corp., $18,000; Magnus Education LLC, $13,910; Amdex Computer Inc., $12,905; Riverside Automation, $12,000; Micro Systems Corp., $7,878; Reflexite, $4,900; Genesee Group, $4,648.

Livingston: Hurricane Technologies, $6,189; ARKEMA Inc., $1,120.

Ontario: Tariff Affiliates Inc., $14,286; Surmotech Inc., $6,215; CTC Online, $1,600.

Wayne: IEC Electronics, $3,610.

Wyoming: Steel & O’Brien, $38,215.

I wish that descriptions of the traning grants were published, but congratulations to the grant recipients nonetheless!

WIRED: Indiana plans unveiled December 20, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Education, WIRED, Workforce.
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The White County Economic Development director, Connie Neininger, and Purdue WIRED project director, Mark Smith, presented an overview of the Indiana WIRED program to the White County Commissioners:

[The WIRED project] has as its goals the support of local and regional entrepreneurship, preparing business for the aging population and mature workforce while equipping mature workers for jobs and building innovation and job growth in the industries of advanced manufacturing, advanced materials and agribusiness, food production and technology.

“We need to leverage all these assets; that’s what this grant is about,” said Smith. “It’s important to build networks; we’re trying to find the best ideas so everyone can use them.”

Neininger said asset mapping will be a focus of the group meetings in early 2007 so that through this sharing, White County, for example, might learn of a program in Tipton County that’s making it easier for entrepreneurs to get started. That idea then might translate to have the same impact here at home. Then, WIRED grant funds help make the project a reality.

But more research and information is needed so that White County can best use the funds it has available and part of that will come through public meetings over the next several months said Neininger.

WIRED: Indiana staff hire December 20, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Education, Innovation, WIRED, Workforce.
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The Purdue University Technical Assistance Program hired Christy Bozic as its manager of business innovation.  Ms. Bozic will be funded by WIRED for the first three years of her position.

Dave McKinnis, TAP Director: “Christy will be responsible for helping manufacturers with product development, manufacturing processes, supply-chain development, strategy development, business management and other related issues. She also will work closely with economic development leaders, work force development organizations, governmental offices and university contacts to help companies create and implement their plans for innovative practices.”

Bozic: “The biggest mistake companies make is thinking that they have to move oversees to reduce cost.  There are new, innovative ways to use the incumbent work force. Retraining and keeping new graduates in-state are key.”

Additional summary of manufacturing-workforce issues December 19, 2006

Posted by Tom in Education, Workforce.
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From English as a Second Language to skills shortages to marketing to the next generation of potential workers, this monthly email newsletter from WorkforceUSA.net (which I believe is free) covers all the bases…some of which I’ve already discussed on the blog but others that I have not reviewed.  Articles, resource materials on these topics are available by the link.

Statistical comparison of major metro areas December 19, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Education, Research, Workforce.
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Houston Strategies referred me to this well-done compilation by the St. Louis, Missouri-based East-West Gateway Council of Goverments, of data comparing St. Louis to different metro areas around the nation in terms of our many demographic points – education, age, race, income, etc.  – using the latest available data.

If you are interested in keeping up with the Jones (or at least benchmarking your community against them!), this looks like a good resource.

Initial media coverage of Skills Commission report December 14, 2006

Posted by Tom in Education, Media, Workforce.
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The AP story is on the wire, and it’s rather comprehensive – as is the report:

The group is proposing that high school end at 10th grade for many students and that teacher pension plans be scrapped for other benefits such as higher pay and 401(k)s.

The proposals, which likely will be viewed as radical by some, were presented by a decidedly establishment group that includes two dozen ex-Cabinet secretaries, school officials and business executives, along with top government leaders from the major political parties.


Indiana: Investing in workplace literacy December 14, 2006

Posted by Tom in Education, Workforce.
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The nasty little secret that we must address in America is that many of our workers – even some well-paid workers – do not possess basic workplace literacy skills. So says a study, “A Demand-Side Strategy to Meet Indiana’s Workforce Basic Skills Challenge” (Full Report, Executive Summary), that the Indiana Chamber of Commerce published in January 2005.

The study states that 50% of our adult workforce has low literacy skills, meaning that they have a hard time with these tasks:

Skills Needed to Get a Job

  • Read a want ad and complete a written application
  • Talk about skills, abilities, accomplishments, likes and dislikes
  • Answer and ask questions

Skills Needed to Survive on a Job

  • Follow oral and written directions, ask for clarification or reasoning, and make small talk
  • Locate written information, facts or specifications
  • Understand technical vocabulary and the enabling words attached to them; for example, “pour the pellets into the extruder”
  • Understand and use charts, diagrams and illustrations

Skills Needed to Thrive on a Job

  • Give as well as follow instructions
  • Participate in group discussions
  • Teach others
  • Predict outcomes
  • State a position
  • Express an opinion
  • Access and use information from diverse sources

Fortunately, The study did not go unnoticed.